I was supposed to race this morning. Flight from Boston to Jacksonville was delayed last night, meaning I got home at 12:30AM. Race started at 7. I woke up at 6:50. There is a first time for everything, and this was my first DNS from oversleeping.
My First Win
I got to the pub about an hour before the race would start. I was wearing running shorts, a singlet, arm warmers and a speedo. Yeah, I had a speedo underneath the running shorts. But common decency won the day and I kept the running shorts on (which made things a tad uncomfortable for me but far more comfortable for everyone else). I met a couple of friends before the race and they asked whether I was going for the win. It was a small race (fewer than 120 racers) but nobody who I had ever raced against before. Rachel knew a few of them, and said that the fastest guy in the host club wasn’t running. So I had that going for me, which was nice. The course was a relatively flat (for Massachusetts) 3 loop main course with a small finishing loop to get to 5K. Each of the main loops would end with a pit stop in the pub to drink (read: chug) a 10oz beer, place a dollar tip in the tip jar, and get your bib stamped before leaving the pub and starting again.
My strategy for the race was simple. Since I didn’t know anyone, I would go out and see what the leaders were doing, and once I knew, I’d assess the pace and decide whether I could keep up and place at all. The other idea I had was to walk the entire pub/drinking portion of the run so that when I got to the beer, I wouldn’t be out of breath.
We got to the start, got last minute instructions and took off. Immediately I was in a group of 6 or so, and as we made the second turn of the loop, the group was whittled down to four. By the third loop, there were three of us in a tight pack. I came into the pub either in second or third, grabbed my beer and downed it as quickly as I could. I left the pub in second place, but by the first turn I was in first. And then I started passing slower folks who were still on the first loop. I didn’t really know what to say (I never do) as they would compliment/mockingly complain about my speed. I got into the pub, fought my way through the crowd to get my beer, and then took off for the third lap. At this point I knew I had a bit of a gap, so I gave the policemen and volunteers directing traffic on the course high fives. Rachel was on her second beer in the pub as I came in, chugged my beer, and took off for the short finishing loop.
As I left the pub parking lot, I looked behind and saw that I had a decent gap on second place, but I had no clue as to his closing speed. I had already vurped a couple of times on the larger loops, and losing the contents of my stomach would be a DQ, so I wasn’t quite sure whether I could match his pace if he started sprinting. We had outrun the volunteers to the last few turns so they shouted directions (“turn here” and “second entrance to the parking lot”). I was slightly worried that I would mistake their directions and lose a race I had in hand by going the wrong way. I crossed the finish line and shortly after greeted the second place guy. I was ecstatic. My first win ever, and of course it comes on a pub run. In a season of runs where I shocked myself with steady improvement, I wouldn’t call this my best run, but this was the first time I had ever won a race. In the end, I took first place by 12 seconds with a 21:04. Not my fastest 5K, but probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a 5K.